The Upper Valley can be an outdoor lover’s paradise. There’s always another mountain to climb, a lake to swim in, a river to paddle down, a mountain trail to bike on. But the Upper Valley has plenty of indoor attractions, too, as well as places that offer a great indoor/outdoor combination.
Indeed, for a rural area made up of villages of fewer than a thousand people each, the Upper Valley offers a surprisingly rich array of cultural entertainments.
Let’s start with an introduction to five of the Upper Valley’s best loved museums.
- American Precision Museum: Housed in the historic Robbins & Lawrence Armory, The American Precision Museum lays claim to the “largest collection of historically significant machine tools in the nation.” Children and adults alike gain insight into the history of mass production, much of which was pioneered right here in the Upper Valley. Located in Windsor, Vermont, the American Precision Museum is a step back in time with relevance to the present and the future.
- Montshire Museum of Science: To steal a line from Sara Lee: Nobody doesn’t like the Montshire Museum of Science. Located just off I-91 in Norwich, Vermont, the Montshire offers interactive science exhibits for the curious of all ages. Inside and out, it’s a great place to let the kids run and play. The Montshire also offers programs expressly for adults.
- Enfield Shaker Museum: Situated on the shores of Mascoma Lake in Enfield, New Hampshire, the Shaker Museum is worth a visit for the view alone. The Shakers referred to the site as the “Chosen Vale.” It’s where they created the largest Shaker dwelling ever constructed, otherwise known as the Great Stone Dwelling. It’s now home to the museum. Tour the house and grounds, or go for a guided walking tour each Tuesday. Also check out the website for workshops, musical performances, and lectures.
- Billings Farm & Museum: Promoting itself as the “Gateway to Vermont’s Rural Heritage,” Billings has enough cows and sheep on hand to immerse you in the state’s country roots. But there’s more to Billings than milk and wool. There’s a fully restored 1890s farmhouse to explore, exhibits and workshops to attend, and a movie theater that plays host to the Woodstock Vermont Film Series.
- Hood Museum of Art: Explore art from cultures across the globe the the Hood Museum’s new and renovated galleries! And the Hood is about more than static art. It offers a wide range of social gatherings, workshops, walking tours, and lectures. It’s a definite stop for a Hanover trip.